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Monday, September 27, 2010

Workplace Relationships

  No, not that kind of relationship! I want to talk about our relationships with one another. How do you, personally, look at your co-workers? Do you see them only in relation to their job title or as real people? Do you treat them the way you want to be treated or do you gauge how you treat them with how they treat you?
  Wow, that's alot to think about. I know that I spent years seeing the people around me only as huge name tags. You know: TECHNICIAN, MANAGER, SUPERVISOR, PHARMACIST, etc. They weren't real people to me. The technicians were just tools and of course upper management were just pains-in-the-ass who didn't appreciate me. What this resulted in was a "battle-field" mentality every time I went to work. I was on the offensive with my techs and the defensive with my supervisors. I was fighting a two-fronted war and I was determined to win!! Man, was I a jerk! I came across as demanding, uncooperative and just plain mean. I was not a team-player and it showed! The problem with all this was that it wasn't the real me.  I wasn't really like that at all, but I was young and insecure and thought that I had to prove myself. After all, pharmacy school doesn't really teach us how to be a pharmacist it only gives us the knowledge needed while we are busy being the pharmacist. I know I wasn't taught how to manage or motivate subordinates or how to (gasp!) submit to upper management while still maintaining my personal integrity. Basically, I was winging it!!
  Well, it all came to a screeching halt when a charge of  workplace harassment was filed against me. The most devastating part was that the person who filed the claim had never worked with me, but the company had to take it seriously anyway. How ironic! I was crushed by this charge because I knew, deep down that there was some validity to it. I had been a jerk; no doubt. Now my job and reputation were on the line. How I responded was critical to my survival. To make a long story short, I had to humble myself, apologize to those I had offended and re-evaluate my approach to those around me. I had to see and deal with these people as real people with real feelings and a real capacity to contribute to the workplace. They were assets not competitors.
  That was a long time ago and these days I get to know my technicians. I take an interest in their lives and I listen to their ideas and concerns. Now, I don't mean getting personally involved as in going out with them after work. That's just not my thing, but you have to make your own decision about that. What I've found is that my techs respect me rather than fear me. That kind of relationship is healthier for all concerned and much more productive.
  As for upper management, I've had to have an attitude adjustment. After all, I work for them. As long as my company doesn't ask me to break the law or violate my moral code, I feel it is my obligation to follow their policies and promote their programs. After all, they have been in this business a whole lot longer that I have. What this attitude does for me is to get me off the defensive and onto the team.

1 comment:

The Redheaded Pharmacist said...

I think after being a fulltime floater or relief pharmacist for a couple of years I've learned how to get along with most coworkers I come across at the various stores I'm required to work. It is a valuable skill to learn to work well with others. It also makes the workday much more tolerable when there is a good working relationship with the other people in the pharmacy. I don't think I could handle working in an environment where I didn't get along with everyone. The work is just too difficult without the added stress of a strained relationship with a coworker!